Newbie Newsday ~ Why Do You Call Your Yarn A Cake?

Note: you can click on any of the yarns below to learn more about them.

Mmmmmmmm, cake. Wait, I’m getting off topic.

Why is some yarn called a cake? Or a hank, ball, skein, cone, or donut?Why are there so many different names for yarn?

Yarn is yarn, all of these other names are simply the way the yarn is presented to you, the buyer.

Each name refers to a different configuration of the yarn you are buying. Here is a visual breakdown:



Flat on the top and bottom and round in the middle, just like a cake. Usually, these are made from winding your yarn from a hank on a yarn winder. However, some companies (like Caron above) are marketing the yarn in cakes where you can see the color changes better.

You can either work from the center or outside tail of the cake as is.


Cloudborn Superwash Merino Worsted Yarn - Dyed by Lorna's Laces

Many independent yarn sellers offer yarn in this form. Unwinding it produces a big loop, which is how they work with it to dye it. It’s most cost effective for the dyer to leave it in this form when selling.

You cannot begin a project from yarn in this form. It will become a tangled mess. You must first wind it into a cake or ball. I have a video on how to do this here.



We’ve all seen a ball of yarn. It’s rare to see them sold as such (the awesome Zauberball above is an exception), but we’ve all wound up leftovers from projects.

Unless you are winding a center pull ball on purpose, you normally can only work from the outside tail of a yarn ball.


Rainbow Mighty Stitch Sampler

Pronounced skeyn, this is how most big box yarn companies sell their yarn. It is wound on a machine and forms a fat oblong shape.

You can either work from the center or outside tail of the skein as is.



A cone is yarn in a cone shape and usually has a cardboard core. These come with mass amounts of yardage to be used for knitting machines mostly. However, they come in handy at home with a yarn bobbin holder for larger projects.

You will only have access to the outside tail on a cone.


Zing! Chroma Fingering Sampler

My favorite yarn (Chroma by Knit Picks pictured here) is sold in donut form. Like its name, the yarn is shaped like a donut: round with a hole in the middle. The donut helps to show the different color changes on self-striping yarn.

You can either work from the center or outside tail of the donut as is.




50% Off A New Blanket Pattern Plus Two New Free Video Pattern Tutorials

Lazy Cable Blanket
Lazy Cable Blanket


The new knit lazy cable blanket is true to its name. The ambling cables twist their way slowly across the blanket to add fantastic texture without a lot of work.

The afghan includes full written instructions as well as a chart.

Using super bulky yarn, this blanket works up super quick.

50% Off This Week Only


Use promo code: lazy50 during checkout to receive discount. Good on all websites listed below (except Craftsy, which does not have promo codes so the price reflects discount).*

*Offer good until Sunday, March 5th, 2017 midnight Pacific time.  

Buy Now From Your Favorite Shop








Now For The Freebies!!


The Rainbow Baby Blanket is now a free pattern with a video tutorial to go with it!

The open shell stitch creates a wonderful texture any baby will love to grab on to.

Download the pattern and watch the video here.

Lefties click here.

Octopus Free Crochet Pattern Tutorial

The second free pattern was something I asked my Facebook followers about.

I’ve been reading some articles where NICUs are using crochet octopuses to comfort the babies. They believe the tentacles remind the baby of being in the womb with the umbilical cord. Plus the tentacles keep the baby from pulling on the wires they might have connected to their tiny bodies. It is really amazing!

Facebook said, “YES!” when I asked if they would like a pattern and video to help support, so here it is. Of course, I’m not a medical expert, so ask your local hospital if they would like these before donating.

Bonus use though: my cats love this! It’s made in one full piece so no worry of the tentacles coming loose.

Download the pattern, watch the video and get some links to news articles about the octopuses here.

Lefties click here.


Newbie Newsday: Which Material Is Best For Crochet Hooks?

There are three main materials for crochet hooks: wood, plastic, and aluminum (or other type of metal).

Obviously, which you prefer will be subjective and me telling you that I love aluminum might not be the best choice for you.

There are some considerations to be made though that could help you on choosing a hook material depending on your skill level and yarn being used.

First Consideration

If you are new to crochet.

I would recommend wood or plastic to a newbie. Wood’s natural materials make it “sticky” to yarn. That is, when you are crocheting, the yarn will slide slower along your hook, which can help you keep from losing loops as you learn to crochet different stitches.

Plastic is the next “stickiest”, but will allow a little more movement than wood. However, plastic hooks are known to “squeak” when using certain types of yarn, so that might deter some.

Once you get your stitches down, I highly recommend aluminum hooks. They are the “fastest” hooks for any type of yarn (more on that in a second).

Second Consideration

The yarn you are using.

Any hook will be okay for more yarn you choose; however, some hooks will do better with certain types of yarns.

When crocheting with slippery yarn, like rayon, or some cotton, a wood hook can come in handy to keep your loops from slipping around and falling off.

Other yarns, like boucle (knubby yarn), can be much easier to work with on aluminum hooks.

My best advice is to get one of each hook, try them out, and see which you like best. We are lucky that hooks, for the most part, are not too expensive and afford us the opportunity to experiment.

What is your favorite type of hook? Let us know below.

Daily Deals

Great Class Sale At Craftsy Today Only!


I love Craftsy classes. I’ve taken over 10 already. So when they have a great sale like this, I have to share it. It’s only good for today though so head over and see if anything looks good.

Receive any Craftsy Class for $19.99 or less with coupon FEBFLASH17!
Limit to one use per customer. Prices are in USD. Excludes The Great Courses. Coupon is not valid for in-app purchases.
Cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts. Expires February 21, 2017 at 11:59 PM MST.


Newbie Newsday: Why Doesn’t My Crochet Hook Letter Match Yours?

I get this question from time to time.

The simple answer is hook manufacturers have different US letter (as in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world go by the metric measurement) designations for some of their hooks.

It’s hard to find out how and when this started, but my theory is that because we’ve never adopted the metric system here in the US, the manufacturers came up with the US letters to help us out back in the day.

Why Can’t I Just Get The Same Letter Hook As The Pattern Calls For?

Because it could affect your gauge.

For example, the 4mm could be labelled as either a US-F or a US-G, and a 10mm is either a US-N or US-P. And the reverse is true, a US-N could be a 9mm or a 10mm hook depending on the manufacturer.

If the pattern only gives the US letter hook size, you could potentially be off by one whole mm, which will greatly change your gauge (check out my video below to see more on gauge and hook size).

What Should I Do If The Pattern Only Lists The US Letter Size For The Hook?

Start with that hook, only a couple of hooks have the different mm size, most are the same. My favorite hooks:

The Clover Soft Touch have both letters printed on their hooks. Try to make gauge and go from there (again, see my video down below if you need help with gauge).

So Which Letter Should I Choose if A Pattern Only Has The mm Size Listed?

And the simple answer for that is: don’t worry about letter size. If you have a pattern calling for a hook that comes in multiple letters, stick with the mm size. That is the actual measurement of the hook head and not just the letter the company that made it decided to name it.

You will be much closer to what the designer used when making gauge when you first try to make gauge yourself.


Fab Five For February

I love all the knit and crochet-topped boots out there right now. Here are my favorite top five.

1. Muk Luks Women’s Patti Cable Cuff Boot

This low profile fold over detail would be cute with skinny jeans.

2. Muk Luks Women’s Chris Cable Knit Winter Boot

Looking for a stylish upgrade to the last pair. This chunky heel is super cute.
3. Bearpaw Women’s Shania Ankle-High Suede Boot

Love the strap detail on this knit cable boot.

4. T.u.k.. Women’s Suede and Crochet Combat Boot

Tough and sweet mixed together in this combat boot style.

5. Muk Luks Women’s Malena Crochet Knit Button Down Boot

These get my vote because they actually look crocheted (though we all know they aren’t).

Which one is your favorite? Let us know below!


Newbie Newsday: What Is Frogging?

What is Frogging?

You might hear this from a veteran crocheter, “I didn’t get gauge, so I had to frog my project.”


The process of ripping out your crochet project when you find an error. It is called “frogging” because of the sound of saying “rip it, rip it, rip it” over and over.

Now you can throw that into your crochet vocabulary and sound like a pro!

Be sure to subscribe to learn more fun tips and tricks on Newbie Newsdays!



Some New Video Tutorials And Free Patterns

I’ve added a couple new free pattern tutorials and a special tutorial all about gauge!

New Free Patterns


The My Flower Garden Scarf and…


the My Butterfly Scarf are now free!

These two cute scarves are the perfect accessories for fun-loving little girls.

Download the pattern and watch the video tutorial for the Flower Garden here.

Lefties click here.

Download the pattern watch the video tutorial for the Butterfly Scarf here.

Lefties click here.

Last but not least…

If you are still trying to understand gauge, what it is, why is important, why is it on a yarn ball band, how do I get it?

This video tutorial will cover all of that. This video will teach you all about gauge, so your next project will fit perfectly.

Painting Basics

Winner of Next Counter Ring

Congrats Deborah who left this comment:

Mine are pretty simple to most but I am a beginner and a lefty so I love your videos. I would love to see coffee & mug cozies, headbands, fingerless gloves and those beaded crochet necklaces if that’s something you do. Also I believe they are called motifs (I think) owls, skull, and cats so they can be added to the headbands & cozies. Thank you for the opportunity and I really like that black ring.

She will be picking one of the counter rings (I’m guessing the black on from her comment). Then there will still be two left, so be sure to subscribe to the blog to find out when the next contest will start.

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